He was once the ultimate Pom-basher but Eddie Jones says he’ll feel pride when his England side run out for the first time against Scotland at Murrayfield on Saturday evening (Sunday AM AEDT).
“When I spoke to the players for the first time I said ‘I’m not English but I guarantee to give you full commitment over the next four years to make you the best team and players’,” Jones told reporters on Thursday.
“I am one hundred per cent committed to making this team stronger and this is what I will do.”
The ex-Wallabies mentor once enjoyed a fierce rivalry with England World Cup-winning coach Clive Woodward, with the pair regularly trading verbal pot-shots.
Jones, who had spent the previous four years coaching Japan, was at it again during the 2015 World Cup, accused the hapless Stuart Lancaster of not knowing what his best team was as England crashed out at the group stages.
It was that humiliation that led to the English RFU knocking at Jones’ door following Lancaster’s resignation armed with a lucrative and highly-incentivised four-year contract.
But the 55-year-old denies it’s a case of poacher turned gamekeeper.
“I’ve been singing God Save The Queen since I was 10 and certainly know the words better than the Japan national anthem which I never got my head around,” Jones said on Friday.
“I am very excited about Saturday, Murrayfield will be a tough old affair – it always is.
“The forecast is for rain and strong winds and the atmosphere will be amazing. They say the Six Nations is the greatest competition in the world and this is why.”
Renowned as intense and demanding and not adverse to sending pre-dawn texts to his coaching staff, Jones cut a relaxed figure at England’s palatial training base in the Surrey village of Bagshot.
Jones is one of four Australians holding major positions in British sport with Wayne Bennett the latest after being named England’s new rugby league coach this week.
Bennett follows in the footsteps of England cricket coach Trevor Bayliss and Shane Sutton, head of the powerful British cycling team that’ll again be a major rival to Australia at this year’s Rio Olympics.
“We’re part of the Empire mate,” Jones said.
“Australia is part of England. We’re the convict side of the English gentleman.
“When you look at us, you’re really looking at the bad side of you guys … it’s what you could have been.”